France - All Saints Day

All Saints Day

This year: Friday, November 01, 2019

If you would like to recall all the story of this holiday you will be amazed of how greatly it has changed since the time when it first appeared. In fact, it was born in the Middle Ages, when people piously believed in God and Church influenced on every side of people's lives. There was a tradition to esteem the dead on a certain day to make them know that we still remember them. But if you look at this tradition closely, you might see out that it was celebrated even earlier than that. And it was not at all a Christian tradition, but a Pagan one. Heathens believed that the soul of a person goes on living even after death of the body. People must remember their nearest and dearest and care about them. So, to please the deceased, people went to the churchyards, lighted candles for them and prayed.

Time passed since those days, but still we keep this tradition and commemorate our deceased relatives doing the same things as our forefathers did.

On this day the French commemorate their relatives, ancestors and closest people, who left. The Catholic religion considers commemoration of the deceased to be one of the most important duties of all the religious rites. People should remember those, who passed away, those, who are in purgatory, because they have to purge from their sins. And we can help them with this, because our good deeds, devotions, charity and penance can help to shorten the time of purgation. The French go to Catholic churches on this day. They come to the Mass to pray for the souls of the deceased, and then they set off to cemeteries. On their way to the churchyard, they often sing motets and say prayers. At churchyard they bring the graves in order. Before leaving the cemetery, they light up a candle, which symbolizes that the memory about died person is still alive.

During the whole day no entertainments are allowed, because every one should devote time to remember the people, who they cared about and loved, respected and adored. On this day people get one more chance to pay the last honors.

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